I do It's all about color, contrast, and your embellishments. Ink, paint, or stamp onto the cardstock to give it a pattern. Make shapes out of other colors (like my palm tree and the waves below). Add small shapes of patterned paper. Use brightly contrasting colors to mat your pics. I'll be interested to see what other ideas get posted!
Add texture to it by dry embossing, using a paper crimper, distressing, tearing, or weaving it. Inking the edges also gived cardstock some "oomph".
You can also create your own patterned paper with it. For example, you have this terrific lo in your gallery: Back to School By RoyalScrapClub
You could recreate this lo almost entirely with cardstock. You could cut cut different size squares and layer them to create that background. You could cut alphas from different colors of cs and adhere them to a piece of white cs to create that alpha pp. You could cut diamond shapes and adhere them to a sheet of cs to create the diamond pp..you could use stitching or even dotted lines to complete the look of that pp.
Punches can really be a helpful tool when working with cardstock, too.
I almost always use plain cardstock as backgroung and add more collored and patterned paper. I have a hard time using pattern as a backround because I am always afriad of making a layout too busy (I usually put a ton of pictures on a layout). I just don't have the eye for patterned bacground, though I wish I did.
I agree with michelley2002. I like to use solid cardstock for the background of my layouts too. Then I use up scrap pieces of patterned paper by adding them on top. I love to add inexpensive details such as paint, stitching and doodling to give it interest and to help blend the colors a little.
If you are used to pattern paper and just want to use up some of your plain cardstock.....
Use stencils and paint, mists or gesso to dress up the background
Punch around the page to make a shape out of it
Cut your photo mats out of it, cutting larger than your photo and use TH on the edge dies to dress up the mat
Punch just the top of the page (for example with a wave punch for a beach LO)....
Looking at these layouts is like thumbing through a magazine! Wow!
The layouts are awesome, and the scanning/photography is amazing.........just like a magazine! TFS!
I also couldn't beleive that some of those were solid cardstock that you stamped......totally would have thought it was patterned paper.
Thanks for asking this question. Soon I will be doing a layout of me taking my grandson to see Sesame Street Live Elmo show. Many pages will be primary solid colors and I am in a quandry as to how to do them. Same situation with his first birthday party pictures. It was all red and blue cars theme so I am back to the primary colors. But I keep reminding myself that pages for a 1 and 2 yr old don't need a sophisticated, all-out embellished page.